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Comments on my notes

(63 comments on 51 notes)

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Red
2016 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
1/16/2023 - connorpksmith Likes this wine:
95 points
Pnp over 2 hours at 2 Amy's Pizzeria. This is still going strong! Wish we gave it a short decant before enjoying. This kept getting better and better as the night went on. The last sip was the best. Still one of the best Barolos from the '16 vintage IMO.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    1/16/23, 7:31 PM - I opened one about a month ago, first time since 2020, and totally agree, it remains very enjoyable now with a lot to look forward to.

Red
2007 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia Nebbiolo
11/26/2022 - Smooth Jazz wrote:
88 points
Muted nose, crushed stone and green olive on the palate which still feels tight even after several hours of decanting, little to any perceptible fruit, drying tannins, no mid palate and short finish - may well have an upside to the score but it’s pretty joyless at present - revisit after another decade at least
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/1/22, 9:30 AM - This might have been corked or flawed. Have had this twice in the past year and it's been in great shape, tons of fruit, very youthful

Red
2010 Azelia Barolo Riserva Bricco Voghera Nebbiolo
6/18/2022 - NostraBacchus wrote:
flawed
Unfurtunately oxidized bottle. Already the color gave away that there was something wrong.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/23/22, 9:49 AM - Do you think there's bottle variation with this wine? I tasted it at the winery last year and thought it seemed a bit oxidative / lacking freshness, and it was a new bottle just opened, I believe. Then I've seen your notes saying it is very good. I've been meaning to track down a bottle but it's not that widely available.

Red
2014 Vietti Barolo Rocche di Castiglione Nebbiolo
6/29/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
96 points
On the nose, I found black cherry and red raspberry fruit, licorice, violets, menthol, fresh herbs, and a hint of fresh citrus. On the palate, the wine opened with juicy dark red fruit, with a good amount of power but lip puckering acidity contributing freshness and a sense of lightness. As it built towards the finish, finely textured but youthful tannin emerged, and the flavor profile transitioned into a bit of a darker fruit expression, ending on black fruit, spices, and salty minerality.

It's a brilliant wine. Compared to the '16 which I tasted yesterday, the fruit expression is a bit lighter, with some red fruit in the '14 mixing with the black cherry I found in both wines. The acidity level appears to be higher in the '14, or at least it sticks out more from the rest of the wine, and thus one could say it lacks a bit of the balance of the '16, where every aspect seems to be perfectly proportioned. It's a bit leaner on the palate as well, but not nearly to the degree of most '14 Barolo. In both wines there is a clear commonality in the vineyard characteristics but each also reflects the vintage characteristics.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/11/22, 9:29 PM - Hey - I have never had the '15 Rocche. I definitely should try it. I'm not a huge fan of the 2015s in general but there's definitely some gems i.e. Conterno or Burlotto....

Red
2006 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera Nebbiolo
9/13/2022 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
92 points
The ‘06 Grasso is an attractive wine, although it seems a bit muddled in comparison to the wines being made at Grasso since 2008. On the nose, I found dark red cherry fruit, menthol, sweet spices, licorice, and orange peel. On the palate, I found dark red cherry with a hint of dark chocolate, sweet spices, and licorice, with the finish highlighting the chocolate, spice, and herbal notes more so than the fruit. The wine had medium acidity with slightly grainy tannins, lacking some of the finesse the Grasso wines now show. The wine is a bit too dark and lacking freshness to be a truly great wine in my opinion; it’s somewhat monolithic.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/14/22, 5:44 AM - Hey - I bought this bottle as a one-off at auction a few years ago, so I can’t say how it was stored. I didn’t think there was anything noticeably off about it, but it’s very possible that if you stored since release the bottle will be fresher.

    I double decanted the wine and drank over the course of a few hours afterwards. Had been resting in a home cellar for a while.

    This was my first experience with the ‘06 Gavarini Chiniera, and slightly disappointing (so I’d be happy to hear perfect bottles are better) but mostly in line with my Elio Grasso experience. I think the wines are top tier today while the older wines are good but a bit rustic. Seems like in 2008 they crushed it and since then the wines are excellent most years. I’ve also found 2006 in general to be a very dark fruited vintage with tannins that can be fierce so that also fits this bottle.

Red
2016 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder
6/4/2022 - MAXIMUM SATISFACTION wrote:
91 points
Galloni…facepalm. This might have potential in 20 plus years. Right now it’s bitter and super tannic. Did a long decant and then back into the bottle overnight. No movement on it. Likely will always be low 90’s for me.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    8/14/22, 10:35 AM - I’ve only had one bottle of the ‘16 Mayacamas but I thought the texture of the wine was incredible. Almost no perception of tannin, covered up by the density of the fruit, despite knowing it’s surely very tannic technically. Like a recent vintage of Monfortino. Maybe it’s in a weirder spot now or your tastes are just different than mine but I’d try another bottle at some point.

White
2018 Schäfer-Fröhlich Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs Nahe
7/13/2022 - Diane (LI) wrote:
It starts out vegetal, but with air and a nice chill, citrus comes through. Worked nicely as a starter at a wine dinner.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    7/14/22, 7:47 AM - Thanks for bringing the riesling, it was very enjoyable. Was it the Felsenberg or Felseneck? I thought last night you said Felseneck but I didn't look at the bottle closely.

Red
2011 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Nebbiolo
6/27/2022 - NostraBacchus Likes this wine:
95 points
This was (unfortunately :-) tasted next to the epic 2008. Jumps right out of the glass, with explosive notes of super perfumed red cherries, ripe red berries in general, rose petals, some violets also just a touch of tar and tobacco leaf. It‘s medium-full bodied, but lacks the persistence of the 2008, has high acidity and medium-high tannin that is there but seems a touch rougher than 2008, this is splitting hair though. Good finish.
This would probably be an excellent wine for any occasion but it was just suffering a little bit from being served next to the incredible 2008. Still a very good Brunate that is just short of being truly great. It makes up for it with being super seductive and is welcoming you with open arms.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    6/29/22, 3:43 PM - As you say not the epic '08, but this one was a lot of fun to drink. I think Rinaldi has a very distinct flavor profile you can't get elsewhere, there's the violets / purple fruit and a hard candy like sweetness I often get. This '11 had that flavor I crave just not the depth beyond it.

Red
2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà Nebbiolo
Initially very shut down in the glass, my first reaction was one of disappointment. With air, some of the pretty Giacosa nose came out, but this didn't seem to show quite correct to me. There was some of the "fruitcake" that I look for in these wines, but overall the impression was a little dark, a little somber. I don't criticize a red label without some reluctance.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/13/22, 10:17 AM - Situation with this wine is very unfortunate because the bottles I've had have been some of the best wines I've ever tasted, but seems like there is a lot of variance as even Galloni has noted. Keeps me from being in the market for it.

Red
2018 Nervi-Conterno Gattinara Nebbiolo
3/8/2022 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
94 points
The '18 Nervi is an incredibly beautiful young wine. Today, it shows a lot of promise and is fun to drink, but the best days seem to be well in the future. There is plenty of structure and concentration here for this to age for decades.

On the nose, I found very cool-toned aromatics with sweet, dark red raspberry fruit, fresh roses, orange peel, mint / cool herbs, and a bit of licorice. On the palate, the wine was very finessed in terms of tannins, elegant, yet also concentrated, in the way great Nebbiolo can be. I found a very sweet, somewhat exotic expression with very sweet pure red fruit, roses, and plenty of citrus peel and spices. The sweetness of the fruit and textural depth really stood out.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    3/9/22, 12:41 PM - Yeah I imagine that was a weird bottle. I was very happy with this bottle, and it showed similarly well at the winery back in November. I thought the '18 single vineyards were insanely good.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    3/9/22, 12:50 PM - Yeah I'm not sure if they have set a price for the single vineyards yet, but they said it's going to be much higher for 2018 than the 2016s. That said, my initial impression at least was that the quality justifies a big price step-up. I had the '16 Molsino a while back and thought it was very good, but a bit rustic in terms of the tannins, etc. The '18s are very finessed in comparison. While not exactly substitutable for Barolo, I bet the '18 Nervi single vineyards would score near the top of a lineup of good Barolo.

Red
2017 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
2/8/2022 - acyso wrote:
90 points
I'm not that bullish on this wine. It's good, but it's not at the level that the 2013 and 2015 (or even the 2016). A lovely candied-cherry-driven nose (that's not over the top), with a clear confected sweetness. A little rose underneath all that fruit. The palate is a clear continuation of the nose, but strikes me as distinctly candied. Mostly cherries as far as the fruit profile goes, and a bit of aldehydes put this soundly in the treble register. Somewhat lacking in acidity, this doesn't come across as very complex right now. I'd hope that this will develop complexity with time, as it certainly doesn't feel that way today.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    2/9/22, 7:43 AM - I've only tasted a sip of this to date, at the winery, and thought it was good but not great in the way many 2017s are (surprisingly cool-toned in expression, but lighter, less complex, and yet also less finessed in terms of the tannins than the actual cool vintages). So I don't disagree, although I'd score higher. But is any producer's 2017 at the same level as their 2013 or 2016? The only one that I believe came close is Giacomo Conterno, maybe Fratelli Alessandria (I've only tasted Monvigliero.)

Red
1989 Massolino Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda Nebbiolo
12/19/2021 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
95 points
The '89 Rionda is a fantastic wine and still showed youthful today, with vibrant color and plenty of energy. On the nose, I found dark red to black cherry fruit, earth / black truffle, menthol, and balsamic spices. On the palate, the wine was richly textured with above average acidity, with some fine grained tannin remaining at the back end. The wine showed a beautiful inner sweetness, with black cherry fruit, earth, and balsamic spices, ending with sweet, hard-candy like dark fruit, balsamic, and roast meat flavors on the long finish.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    1/18/22, 7:02 PM - Hey - I purchased it off a restaurant list. It was decanted but we started drinking it basically right after. I do think the aromatics improved within the first hour or so, but on the palate it was fireworks right away. At home I'd probably have decanted something like this an hour or so in advance and then poured it back into the bottle.

Red
2010 G.D. Vajra Barolo Ravera Nebbiolo
12/9/2021 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
93 points
The 2010 Ravera is a very good wine in the making. Today, it is enjoyable but seems to be somewhere between youthful exuberance and maturity, so I think it is best left alone for another 5-10 years, and it will likely develop positively for longer than that. At least in 2010, the Vajra Ravera is a more savory, 'masculine' Barolo than the very elegant and perfumed Bricco delle Viole.

On the nose, I found chalky red cherry fruit, dried rose petals, minerality, earth, and herbal tones of menthol and sage. On the palate, I found dried roses, earth, red cherry fruit, and fresh herbal tones of sage and mint, with a burst of chalk, minerals, and dried roses on the long finish. The wine is medium to full bodied in texture for a Nebbiolo with above average acidity and significant tannin, although the tannins are fine grained. Today, the wine is quite 'masculine' and structured on the palate, lacking the sweetness I would hope emerges as it matures. While there is a solid core of red cherry fruit here, the most dominant notes are red roses, earth, chalk, and savory herbs. The more recent vintages of Vajra Ravera appear to be a bit more fruit-forward.

~93 today for me, but likely with a few points of upside.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/9/21, 6:20 PM - Thank you! And yes, too bad this one has gotten tough to find (I believe the production quantity was lower in '10 than it is now, although not sure the #s).

Red
2012 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Francia Nebbiolo
6/23/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
96 points
On the nose, the wine is deep and cool in tone, and nicely expressive with red cherry and plum fruit, tar, roses, iron, and spices. There is a rare level of complexity to the nose at such an early stage, immediately upon PnP. On the palate, it is rich and concentrated yet beautifully refined, with little perception of tannin, with waves of sweet strawberry and red cherry fruit, complemented towards the finish with minerals and spices. The '12 Conterno Francia may be the wine of the vintage based on what I've tasted to-date - it's a complex, powerful, refined wine that is surprisingly expressive at this stage yet seems to have the depth and concentration to age well.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    11/25/21, 3:06 AM - Hey - I would take 2012 francia over 2016 arione at the same price, although that’s a sample size of tasting one bottle of each. I posted a note on the ‘16 arione at release. It is a very refined and pretty wine for serralunga. But I don’t think the complexity is at the same level as ‘12 francia or ‘16 francia. In 2015/2017 Arione is very complex and dark fruit / spicy, I think the 2016 Arione is a bit of an anomaly in the first three vintages.

    The other recent vintage Conterno I’d consider at a reasonable price is the 2014 Cerretta. Just had another bottle of that, and it is pretty young and tight aromatically, but the textural finesse is incredible. That will likely be an incredible classic Barolo at maturity.

Red
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili Nebbiolo
6/4/2021 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
95 points
The ‘16 Asili is a captivating wine. It is the most refined of the ‘16 Riservas I have tasted. It opens with an intoxicating perfume of sweet red cherry fruit, red roses, exotic spices, blood orange fruit adding an upper register, and a bit of fresh herbs contributing freshness. On the palate, it is extremely concentrated as I’ve found all of the ‘16 Riservas to be, but the Asili is complete and refined in a way the others aren’t at this stage. As with the aromatics, the palate mostly features beautifully sweet and fresh red fruit, rose, and spice tones. The acidity is high and the tannins are strong, but I found them surprisingly finely textured and integrated. The Asili is already beautiful and it seems destined to be an outstanding bottle at maturity.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/3/21, 12:31 PM - I tasted the '16 Rabaja but didn't take notes unfortunately. I definitely thought it was an impressive wine, very dense and dark/spicy in profile. I don't know there is a clear winner between the Rabaja and Asili in '16. If I were to pick one to drink tonight it'd be the Asili. At least in this one showing, it was more perfumed and felt more like a complete wine than drinking raw material that has potential. If you're asking what is the better wine long-term, I'd probably guess the Rabaja, although it's always going to depend on what you are looking for (the Asili seeming like a prettier wine in this vintage with red fruit and floral aromas, the Rabaja black fruit, lavender, balsamic etc).

    In terms of '13 vs. '16 Rabaja, hard to say. I thought the '13 Rabaja was insanely beautiful when I first tasted it in 2019. I thought it was a powerhouse but not that enjoyable to drink yet, with pretty grainy tannins, when I tasted it in 2020. The '16 Rabaja was probably more like that second encounter, very raw and powerful, and I do love the dark fruit / lavender / balsamic flavor profile, but it's not ready for consumption yet. So which one is better - I'm not sure, if I was comparing my first tasting of the '13 with my tasting of the '16, I'd pick the '13, if I were comparing the second tasting of the '13 to the '16, I'd say they're pretty even or maybe a slight edge to the '16, seems even denser so maybe better long-term....

Red
2016 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Nebbiolo
7/6/2021 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
91 points
The '16 Burlotto normale is a very enjoyable wine, offering some of the Burlotto flavor signatures in a much more accessible, simpler wine that is easy to drink already.

On the nose, I found rose petals, a hint of olive tapenade, rich, jammy red raspberry fruit, and mint. On the palate, I found plenty of ripe red raspberry fruit and a hint of savory olives and herbs, with some notes of licorice also lingering on the finish. The wine has good energy with medium+ acidity. The tannins are quite present at this stage, but fine-grained enough to make the wine quite drinkable; however, the normale is not as elegant and refined texturally as the Monvigliero in '16, and the perception of tannin is higher here.

The '16 normale is an excellent wine to drink now and over the medium-term as a simple, easy-drinking Barolo with some unique flavor signatures. At the going U.S. rate, however, there are many significantly better wines to be had.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    7/30/21, 6:50 AM - At $60 CAD / $48 USD I'd be a buyer of this wine. Unfortunately the going rate for it in the U.S. is now $100 USD+. That said, I rated the '16 Vietti Castiglione and '16 Trediberri Barolo higher than the Burlotto and they are available for <$50 USD. The Burlotto normale has a more unique style than those two, but I think the Vietti Castiglione or Trediberri have more complexity and will age better.

    For $80 USD, you can get the 2016 Vajra Bricco delle Viole, which is in an entirely different league than the Burlotto normale in my view.

Red
2016 Cappellano Barolo Piè Rupestris Otin Fiorin (Gabutti) Nebbiolo
The '16 Rupestris is a dense, classic Barolo that is fairly closed today and in need of cellaring. On the nose, I found an intense aroma of dried red roses, followed in intensity by cool menthol, tar, then sweet red raspberry and cherry fruit. On the palate, the wine showed good textural depth, sweetness, and finesse in the tannin, along with plenty of energy from sharp acidity, but didn't show much in terms of flavor complexity. I found largely pure red raspberry and cherry fruit with a good sweetness, with some fresh herbs and roses. The tannins are finely textured but very intense and will need a lot of time to soften. What really sticks out at this point on the palate is the density, the intense tannins, and the intense acidity.

I largely tasted through the '16s about a year ago and haven't tasted many since, so it's not directly apples to apples, but the '16 Rupestris is one of the more closed off and hard to read wines of the vintage that I've tasted. There is no doubting the intensity and energy of the wine. I'm sure the ultimate potential level of the wine is high, but it's hard to peg where this sits in the vintage pecking order at this stage. Certainly, I wouldn't recommend opening a bottle now for enjoyment.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    6/16/21, 1:40 PM - Hey Connor - yes, I tasted the '15 twice last year. Funny these wines were $120 a year ago and widely available so I didn't think twice of opening multiple bottles...

    I thought the '15 was very impressive last year. I found it to have a darker flavor profile with some black fruit whereas the '16 has red fruit, and sort of a dried profile a bit with the floral aromatics. The '15 also has some spice that I didn't find in the '16. Texturally, I found the '15 to be pretty concentrated for that vintage and while tannic, the tannins are a bit more buried than I thought they were in '16 (in my first showing, I thought the tannins were very buried....in the second showing, I thought they showed more. Shows the difficulty of drawing conclusions from young wine!). The '15 was definitely drinking better a year ago than I found the '16 to be now.

    It's hard to say at this stage of life, but I think the '15 may be the better vintage for this wine or at least the quality is much closer than it is for most producers. Conterno is also in that camp. The '15 Francia and '15 Arione have completely different flavor profiles than they normally do, but I think those wines are as good or better than the '16s.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    6/17/21, 12:03 PM - Yeah I'm a bit shocked by the price increase and disappearance of Cappellano from the market over the past year. At the going price of the 2016 or 2015, there are better wines to be bought IMO. In 2016 I'd prefer the Vajra BDV or Ravera and both Gavarini Chiniera / Casa Mate from Elio Grasso over the Rupestris if they were all available at the same price, and those wines are <$100.

Red
2018 Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon Caldwell Vineyard Coombsville
1/13/2021 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
93 points
The '18 Caldwell seems to be a gorgeous Cabernet in the making, but I found the wine to be somewhat closed off and hard to get a read on today (a bit surprising to me, mostly because of Galloni's review, which suggested it was a bit more approachable).

On day one, I found the wine to be quite closed off and uninteresting. I put it in the fridge overnight and retasted today, at which point the wine had opened up nicely, although it seemed to close down again later. The aromatics are rich but also fresh, with sweet dark red raspberry fruit, dark minerals, mint, and fresh roses. On the palate, I found a similar combination of richness and freshness. The texture was silky with refined tannins, with a creamy / full mouthfeel, while the wine was livened by brilliant acidity puckering the mouth towards the back end. I found dark red raspberry fruit again, alongside spices, vanilla, mint, and a finish emphasizing the spice, vanilla, and red floral aspects of the wine. It is clearly a very good wine in the making, showing a mix of Napa richness with sharp acidity providing freshness/balance.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    1/13/21, 6:25 PM - Yeah it certainly seemed so - which probably isn't a bad thing for the wine's prospects, but I was a bit surprised as this was my first time tasting the Caldwell, and from Galloni's reviews I was expecting something more open and easy going.

    I do think the Caldwell seems like it will peak at an earlier age than the DI CO in 2018 due to its richer fruit and silkier tannins. I just tasted the '18 DI CO, and it is a real dark beast of a wine in my opinion.

Red
2013 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato Nebbiolo
12/28/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
86 points
The ‘13 Monprivato is one of the worst young Barolo I have tasted, price aside. Simply put, the ‘13 has no purpose - it lacks the vibrancy of a good Langhe Nebbiolo or the depth of a good Barolo. The fruit is diluted and muted, the texture is very light bodied and yet still shows some harsh drying tannin. The wine got worse with air and fell apart in the glass, suggesting it’s unlikely to improve with air. No sign of any flaw in the bottle.

On the nose, I found slightly muted aromatics of dried light strawberry fruit, some VA, dried flowers and tobacco. On the palate, it was light and diluted yet showed a normal amount of youthful Nebbiolo tannin, which stuck out more given the lack of any depth in the flavor profile.

The ‘13 was a major disappointment compared to the ‘15 which I tasted a few months ago, and was a clear success for that weaker vintage.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    1/4/21, 2:48 PM - I agree about 2013 vs. 2015 overall, although I think every 2013 Barolo I've opened recently has clearly showed its promise, if not being as expressive as they were a few years ago in many cases. This 2013 Monprivato was opened next to a 2013 Monfortino, for example, and the Monfortino was at times very aromatic and texturally very interesting - very clearly showing its characteristics even though way too young.

    I posted on Vinous about tasting the '16 and noted finding the '13 very low quality. Some suggested a bottle flaw. No obvious one I could tell, but obviously you never know with sample size of one bottle. Most other reviews of this vintage aren't particularly inspiring, so I'm not inclined to pony up to taste another bottle.

Red
2016 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
10/9/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
96 points
The '16 BdV is an insanely beautiful wine. The expressive, sweet aromatics make a strong first impression. On the nose, I found sweet, almost candied red cherry and purple-toned fruits, intense red floral aromas, licorice, menthol, and sweet spices, all woven together beautifully. Everything was in balance, and cool in tone, but explosive and sweet in a way few wines are especially at this age. On the palate, the wine is similarly explosive and concentrated, but with incredible finesse. I sense there is a lot of tannic heft, but it's buried under the fruit. There is a wave of dark red fruit, lavender, licorice, menthol, and spices, with a striking inner sweetness to the fruit. The finish is long, with red fruit and spices. It's concentrated yet light on its feet.

As an aside on tannins - it's remarkable how much progress appears to have been made at Vajra and other wineries in the past decade. I tasted the '05 BdV last night and the '07 BdV a few weeks ago. The '05 has fine-grained tannins but they are very noticeable, and I found the '07 to remain very tannic - the '16 BdV, at four years of age, is much more refined and smooth on the palate than either of those two vintages. The vintage plays a role here - the '08 is more finessed than '05 or '07 for example - but there's clearly been an upgrade in tannin management in my view.

Anyway, the '16 BdV is remarkable. It's one of the top few wines I've tasted from the vintage. Scored a 96, but closer to the 2016 Barolos I've rated a 97 (i.e. Bartolo, Burlotto Monvigliero) than most I've given a 96 to (i.e. Elio Grasso, Sandrone Le Vigne) in my view - if only there were more points in the scale.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/10/20, 5:04 AM - Thus far I think so. I have the Vajra Ravera and Fratelli Alessandria single vineyards lined up to taste next, I could see those being contenders as well.

    If including Barbaresco, my hunch is the best Produttori single vineyards ie Rabaja may be competitive for best wine in this price range in 2016 - Rabaja certainly was in 2013 in my opinion - but I don’t know of anyone having reported tasted those wines yet.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/30/20, 6:35 AM - Hey - your list of producers is pretty wide, but in short I think in some of those cases it’s getting closer in terms of quality, but I think the best examples of wines from Conterno (Monfortino), Rinaldi Brunate, and Bartolo are still on a higher level. And style is often completely different.

    Roagna I have very little experience with - none with their higher end bottlings. So I can’t comment. I had the ‘13 Pira this year and it was good but very unique.

    Sandrone I also have somewhat limited experience with - I’ve liked the 2016, 2013 le vigne a lot. The older Le Vigne I’ve had have some more oak and I didn’t like as much. The 2013 Talin I tried I did not like. I think they make some great wines but still may make some questionable, more overtly modern decisions in some cases (not so much oak, more in the concentration level of the wine).

    Produttori - the 2013 Rabaja is the only wine I’ve had that is at that high of a level. Many of the other bottlings and vintages are very good wines, but haven’t struck me as elite. Sounds like the 2016s may be even better than the 2013s but I haven’t tasted them yet. Anyway, with produttori I don’t think on average the riservas are close in quality to the likes of Conterno - but the Rabaja, past few years, may be getting there. Maybe in ‘16 other crus too - tbd.

    Grasso - I like their wines a lot, loved the 16s, I don’t think they are quite at the elite level but very solid in tier 2 if you will. They are #2 in my cellar by quantity but that factors in price.

    Vajra - I think they are the closest to being a peer, in terms of the bricco delle Viole bottling (they make a lot of wines, most of which are good but not in this conversation other than maybe the Ravera). The 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2016 BdV i think are some of the better wines of those vintages, price aside. The 2016 is insanely beautiful. These wines have the sweetness and complexity of fruit of the best wines I’ve had. Whether they will age to acquire the same tertiary complexity that Conterno, Rinaldi, Bartolo have proven they can achieve is another matter however. The older BdV I’ve had are good wines but not elite.

    This all said, there is nothing I’ve had that compares to the best vintages of Monfortino - 2010, 2004 in recent years in my opinion - or Rinaldi Brunate (2010, 2006, 1999 have most impressed me) - or Bartolo (2010 being most impressive). I think the best wines from those three producers are on a different level. The best older vintages from Giacosa are also on another level. In particular, the density of the Monfortino suggests an aging potential more than any other Barolo I’ve had. But in vintages where they don’t do as well, you can certainly get an equal or better wine from the producers you mentioned. For example, in 2016 I’d say the Vajra BdV is at the same level or a touch better than the Conterno Francia. I think the Vajra BdV is better than the Rinaldi Tre Tine in 2016 too.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/30/20, 6:44 AM - Sorry I missed two producers you mentioned - Burlotto, Vietti.

    Burlotto I think is so unique that it can’t be compared to a producer like Conterno or bartolo. The Burlotto Monvigliero in the past few vintages (I don’t have experience older) is an incredibly beautiful wine, so uniquely performed with very interesting fruit tones, savory olive etc. So weightless on the palate. I like having them for the uniqueness. I don’t consider them peers less because of the quality being lower, more so because I don’t consider them substitutes.

    Vietti - I have most experience with the Rocche, and I think it is one of the elite wines of Barolo. So I consider that wine a peer. I don’t have enough experience across vintages with the other wines. I like, but haven’t been as smitten as the professionals, by the Ravera. To me the Rocche perfectly combines complexity, power, and elegance in the way the best wines do. And while historically it had oak, tasting back through the 2007 vintage recently I have not noticed any. An ‘89 Rocche earlier this year was incredible, so the wines have proven potential to age.

Red
2008 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero Nebbiolo
12/13/2020 - WineGuyX wrote:
flawed
Stinky nose of stewed fruits and soy sauce. Medium-bodied and tannic. These wines are an enigma. They age beautifully and gracefully then suddenly, seemingly overnight, fall apart.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/13/20, 6:18 PM - Must be a flawed bottle. Ive had this wine maybe 5-6 times in the past few years, still very young and not evolved.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/14/20, 8:43 AM - Last time I had a bottle was ~end of 2019 so a year ago now. Interesting - I have a good amount of experience with this vintage, but not others more than a few years old from Fratelli Alessandria. From Galloni's reviews, it certainly seems they've taken a step up since ~2010.

Red
2016 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder
12/11/2020 - NostraBacchus Likes this wine:
98 points
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Veeder. Wow, this is really good, the sheer class and sophistication is really amazing. Deep dark red berries, black cherries, notes of new leather, some tobacco, graphite, a touch of scorched minerality, some espresso roast. It's medium-full bodied, but seems lighter on its feet, while at the same time has incredible mid-palate persistence. There is high tannin that is excellent quality and high acidity providing tons of freshness and brightens up the overall appearance. Long finish with excellent complexion building up. There is an almost creamy mouthfeel to it which is really intriguing, as other people have commented. This has depth without weight, something only the best wines in the world achieve. Wow.
This is built for the long term...
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/12/20, 3:33 PM - Glad you can get this wine over there in Switzerland! I love Mayacamas, but was still amazed at how good this vintage is.

Red
2010 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Nebbiolo
9/5/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
99 points
The 2010 Monfortino is a Barolo of heroic proportions in every way. Despite its youth, the nose is intensely perfumed. The aromatics are cool in tone and suggest great depth and power, emphasizing savory, cool tones more so than fruit - not that it lacks in fruit. I found sweet red cherries, dried roses, tobacco, iron, and tar, all woven together in a very cohesive package. On the palate, the wine is simultaneously massive and yet incredibly finessed. A mass of dark red cherry fruit, tobacco, tar, iron, fresh herbs, and inner floral tones sweep across the palate, and there is almost a sense of thickness due to the sheer concentration. But then there is almost no perception of tannins at all, and the red fruit shows a beautiful sweetness. It's all effortless.

The 2010 Monfortino seems destined to be a perfect Barolo. It's massive, savory and cool in tone, and yet drinks with an ease that's hard to believe, with incredibly finessed tannins. The flavor profile is textbook Nebbiolo, just with everything dialed up a few notches.

I also tasted the '10 Francia recently. In comparison, the '10 Monfortino is both denser but also more finessed, and I also found the '10 Monfortino more open aromatically than the Francia. The Monfortino also showed more depth including savory tones the Francia did not. While there's clearly some similarities in the core flavor profile, I think the Monfortino is at least several notches superior in 2010.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    12/3/20, 2:31 PM - Hey - I did not decant. Just pop and pour and drank over the course of the day. Generally I don’t decant young Barolo / Barbareaco, I only do it when the wine is old enough for sediment to be an issue. I have never tested that side by side to say scientifically that’s the right approach, but generally when I open very young Nebbiolo I feel it’s best immediately after opening so I don’t think decanting would help.

Red
2007 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
9/20/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
94 points
The '07 Bartolo comes across as a dark, exotic, hedonistic wine from the first whiff. On the nose, I found black cherry and plum fruit, licorice, sweet baking spices, a hint of dark chocolate, balsamic, and earth. The palate remains largely primary, with dark cherry and plum fruit and sweet spices, but stands out primarily for the lush texture and richness. The fruit is dense and glides across the palate like velvet. There is minimal tannin, with a small amount of slightly grainy tannin appearing on the finish, which is long with plenty of spicy, dark fruit. I didn't find the '07 Bartolo to be in any way actually sweet on the palate, as some reviews indicated, but it does show a dark, rich, hedonistic expression of Nebbiolo, certainly very different than most vintages of Bartolo Mascarello. It's enjoyable today, but should improve a bit as the final bit of tannin fully integrates and some more tertiary complexity opens up. It is a very good vintage of Bartolo, standing out for its richness, even if it lacks the complexity of the surrounding '06 and '08 vintages.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    11/25/20, 7:25 PM - Hey - yes I did decant for a few hours. Just a standard Riedel decanter, I think the Merlot one - works for my needs. Not sure how much sediment, I don't think anything crazy. I bought two of these at a retailer a few years ago, so I assume 1 other owner. Both bottles seemed in great condition and showed similarly.

    There's some controversy about the '07 Mascarello - some discussion recently on the Vinous forum. I think I like the wine a bit more than some others. It depends on your tolerance for this very rich, hedonistic style of Nebbiolo, which is quite different than the average Bartolo.

    I would definitely try a bottle if you have a case. I think the wine will hang on and improve for a while, but it's probably not as long of an ager as the cooler vintages.

Red
2010 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
11/13/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
96 points
The 2010 Vajra BdV remains spectacular. The nose was somewhat darker than either the '13 or '16 currently are, with perfectly sweet dark red cherry and purple fruit tones, roses, licorice, cedar, and tobacco. On the palate, the wine was dense and richly textured, although not showing its cards much at this stage, with a core of dense, sweet red to purplish fruit, red floral tones, and adding a bit of tar and saline minerality towards the long finish. In addition to the richness and density of the wine, it showed a medium+ level of acidity and great finesse to the tannins, which are nearly integrated already. It's a spectacular wine, showing the inner sweetness and elegance I find consistent in the best vintages of Vajra's BdV, with all the explosive power of the 2010 Barolo vintage. It's currently a bit reticent, and may in fact need more time than either the 2013 or 2016 to show at peak. Whenever that does come, this will be a special wine.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    11/13/20, 3:51 PM - Hey - if you have one bottle and arent considering buying more, I’d wait. This is still very youthful and hasn’t evolved much. I very much like young Barolo personally, but there’s no doubt it’s going to be better in 5-10+ years.

Red
2016 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo Le Brunate Nebbiolo
10/25/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
91 points
The ‘16 Brunate is an enjoyable wine, but seems to fall far short of the heights Rinaldi achieved in 2010 or 2013. On the nose, I found tobacco, dried herbs, lavender, licorice, and dark red to black fruit. On the palate, the primary flavor profile was tobacco and leather, alongside dark red fruit and spices. The wine was medium to light bodied with classicly austere but fine grained tannins and a good level of acidity. The wine lacks the depth, both in terms of the fruit profile and texture, that the 2013 & 2010 vintages showed.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/26/20, 5:05 AM - I think the '16s are gorgeous almost across the board - hard to go wrong - so the performance of the F. Rinaldi was a surprise/outlier. In the recent past F. Rinaldi has been a huge outperformer and unfortunately didn't get that in my initial tasting here.

Red
2013 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole Nebbiolo
10/15/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
96 points
The '13 BdV continues to be a gorgeous wine, even if it's showing only a fraction of its potential today. On the nose, I found dark red cherry fruit, plum, violets, lavender, exotic spices, and minerality. The nose is cool in tone and the profile of the fruit suggests an almost hard-candy like sweetness, On the palate, the wine was less giving at this stage, but showed a beautiful inner sweetness and great finesse in the tannins, with a texture packing a high concentration of fruit into a mid-weight, elegant package. A wave of sweet dark red fruit and violet tones flowed across the palate, culminating in a finish that was long with exotic spices & saline minerality.

While I found the '13 Vajra BdV is more shut down than it was a year ago or on release, the quality of the wine is clear. It's an incredibly beautiful wine, and not only one of the best QPRs of the 2013 vintage, but one of the top wines at any price.

I tasted the '16 BdV last week. I think it's hard to declare a winner, and they're both incredible wines. I think the '16 BdV is a bit more explosive and concentrated than the '13, while the '13 is a touch more finessed. They are both elegant wines in an absolute sense, and both possess striking levels of sweetness both in the aromatics and on the palate. Both have shown abnormal complexity at an early age - the '16 is a bit more expressive and obvious today, but so was the '13 at the same age.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/16/20, 6:07 AM - I'm inclined to say yes given the alcohol levels are a bit higher (for example, while who knows how accurate, this '13 BdV is marked 14% while the '16 is marked 14.5%). I do think the '16s have been richly textured wines that are more giving in the early going. I don't think it's a bad thing, as the best '16s, the BdV being one of them, are more richly textured than the '13 but still have plenty of elegance. I think it's the same with the Vietti Rocche which I just had the '13 of the other day. There though, I think the '16 is clearly the better wine, which might be the only case where I've tasted both vintages from a top producer and think the '16 is clearly better.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/16/20, 7:18 AM - With Brovia I thought it was a mixed bag. I thought the Villero was better in '16, but the '13 Rocche was probably the best wine of the bunch for me and in my view the '16 isn't at the same level. Nice wine in '16 but I thought the '13 Rocche was more intriguing.

    Grasso you might be right, but I also think the wines in '13 are just more shut down at this point so can't really do a side by side. The '13 Gavarini was incredible at times closer to release; a bottle a year ago was very shut down. I think I'd give the edge to the '16 but with some of these I think it'll take time to figure out.

    Sandrone is getting more attention in '16, but I thought the '13 Le Vigne was just as good. Didn't take a note to compare, but I doubt quality has changed much.

    Scavino - I have no experience, but I think they've been toning down the oak. So that may be example of a producer changing style / improving.

    I guess maybe the only thing you can say for sure at this point is they're both great vintages, and both with a lot of wines worth stocking up on. With rare exception you can't go wrong in either vintage.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/16/20, 7:20 AM - On the Fratelli Alessandria, I opened a Monvigliero last weekend. I liked it but wasn't floored. AG just rated it 97 in his second roundup of 2016 Barolo. I might be underestimating it but I didn't think it was at quite the same level as Vajra, Grasso, etc in '16. It is a very different flavor profile however, so it's clearly worth owning some for diversity.

Red
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Nebbiolo
10/3/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
93 points
The '16 Produttori is a stunning wine for the base Produttori, and makes me very excited to try the Riservas soon. On the nose, I found dark red cherry and plum fruit, blood orange, menthol, fresh herbs, and spices. On the palate, I found dark red and blueish fruit tones, menthol, and licorice. The texture was mid weight and the tannins were very nicely integrated, with medium+ acidity. It's a beautiful young wine, quite expressive despite its youth, and with a lot of depth for the base wine.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    10/6/20, 6:42 PM - You know, this is the 4th or 5th bottle of the '16 "normale" I've had, but I don't actually have any in the cellar. I should pick some up though. Personally I do usually end up loading up on the Rabaja/Asili/Montefico/Ovello, to my taste the best of the bunch, and not the base wine.....just given the price gap of $35-40 vs. ~$60 (well, we'll see where the '16 Riservas price) I think the Riservas are actually a better deal in most vintages.

Red
2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà Nebbiolo
9/10/2019 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
97 points
The 2013 Rabaja is an epic wine. It will require many years to be at its best, but the quality of the wine is already immediately evident on the palate. On opening, the Rabaja is very closed on the nose, and with time in the glass, only a muted expression of dark cherries and licorice emerges. Upon tasting, it is an entirely different story. An array of black fruit, licorice, balsamic, and tobacco sweep across the palate. The fruit is so rich so as to entirely cover the tannins, making the wine quite elegant and shockingly drinkable at this stage. Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay to the 2013 Rabaja is that the wine I recalled when drinking it was the 2010 Rinaldi Brunate. I don’t think this quite rises to that level, but there is no doubt this is also a blockbuster in the making.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/10/19, 7:39 PM - Thanks. I can’t say for sure having not tasted the 16 Riservas, but the 16 normale is amazing in my opinion. Totally different than this Rabaja of course, much lighter red fruit, but I thought it was insane how good it was for the base wine. I look forward to tasting the Riservas. Anyway, so much good wine being made and offered at reasonable prices.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/23/20, 6:47 PM - Hi pods - you know I actually haven't had the 2013 Produttori Asili. I think I've now tasted all the '13s except the Asili, and I think for me the Rabaja is clearly the best of the wines I've tasted, followed by the Montefico and Ovello.

    I did attend a tasting last year of Asili vs. Rabaja over many vintages. I didn't take detailed notes but in general the best wines of the tasting, for my taste, were the Rabaja, especially the '78 and '96. I personally really like the dark fruit & balsamic character that often appears in the Rabaja and found it more intriguing than the Asili in most vintages in that tasting. It may come down mostly to personal preference about the fruit character that you prefer in Nebbiolo.

    As for Produttori vs. Gaja - unfortunately I can't be helpful there. I've only had Gaja a few times and never side by side. I will say in my view this 2013 Rabaja would hold its own with some of the best Barolo & Barbaresco I've tasted, Bartolo Mascarello, Giuseppe Rinaldi, etc that cost much more (to be clear, this is only true IMO in the most recent vintages i.e. 2013, 2014). So I bet it's pretty competitive in terms of quality, obviously a bit more traditional in style than Gaja historically.

Red
2016 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo Le Brunate Nebbiolo
9/14/2020 - NostraBacchus wrote:
91 points
Medium ruby color, slightly lightening up towards the rim. High viscosity. First slightly muted, but opened up after about 2 hours. Notes of cedar wood, plum, some red and dark berries, new leather, cigar, also some spicy notes too (anise, fennel seeds). Everything still very primary. It‘s medium-full bodied, has medium+ acidity and medium-high tannin that is good quality. There is a touch of warmth/alcohol recognizable, not disturbing but muddling the aromatics a little bit. Good length. This is still a baby in terms of evolution... so patience might be required. I am still a little worried about the warmth and the relatively lowish acidity (for Cru Barolo at this early stage).
On day 2 it shows a little more in terms of aromatic, but still the alcohol is a little recognizable to my taste.
On day 3 it‘s opening up even more. Still this could use a touch more freshness to be truly great.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/15/20, 4:42 PM - Thanks for the report on this one. Very interesting. This one has become such an outperformer in good vintages that it's a bit surprising, and the alcohol seems out of character for F Rinaldi. But it does seem alcohol is high in '16 in some wines.

    I already bought a case so I guess I'm in deep :) Got a bottle coming I think this week to taste, will write a note when I do....

Red
2013 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
9/11/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
97 points
The nose is cool and dark in tone, with dark red cherry & plum fruit, violets, roses, sweet baking spices, and licorice. On the palate, I found perfectly sweet and spicy dark red fruit, purple fruit tones and licorice emerging towards the finish. The wine is very concentrated, and yet the tannins and texture of the wine lean very much towards finesse, with a silky texture and very fine-grained tannin emerging only on the finish.

I wanted to check in on a '13 Bartolo after tasting the '16 last week. They're very different wines, with a completely different tone to the fruit, and the key commonality is the finessed texture/tannins, which seem to be consistent in all recent vintages of B. Mascarello. While the '16 Bartolo emphasized freshness and lightness, with red raspberry & blood orange fruit tones, fresh herbs - the '13 is a darker, perhaps more intriguing wine in my opinion. The '13 is a bit more powerful and concentrated. There's maybe some more energy and acidic drive to the '16, which may just be the age difference. Anyway, both will clearly be some of the top wines of their respective vintages, but it's fascinating how different they are.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/11/20, 2:41 PM - Hey - for both of these, just pop & pour. While I have not in any way analyzed this scientifically, personally I've found with Barolo this young the wine is rarely better than when first opened and poured. I have not tried decanting wine this young, just found that even with the bottle open, saving half the bottle for later in the night or the next day usually doesn't yield better results.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/12/20, 6:47 PM - I generally start decanting them around age ~15 or so. I think the youngest I've decanted this year was a 2008. No science there in terms of the wine benefiting from air or not, but I figure once there's some risk of sediment then I'm going to decant.

    This is all hard to say as I haven't done any A-B testing and I'd imagine few have, on decanting vs. not. But for example today, I opened a '14 Conterno Cerretta and it was super expressive and aromatic at noon today when I tasted it and wrote a note, but closed off and not as interesting at dinner. Given that I can't imagine decanting and significant air exposure would have helped.

Red
1999 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto di Serralunga d'Alba Nebbiolo
9/9/2020 - NickA Likes this wine:
92 points
Gareth's Post-lockdown Piedmont (Noize): Nicely mature - slightly volatile, gamey nose, and lovely deep cherry cola-accented fruit on the palate. Bright acidity made it a great match for the rich food it accompanied. Elegant and enjoyable, but (unlike some of my dining companions) I wasn't excited by this - perhaps partly because my glass had a lot of sediment in it.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/10/20, 4:27 PM - Could be the sediment or a less than perfect bottle. For what it's worth in my experience this still shows very fresh and young, with vibrant black fruit.

Red
2016 Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon Farella Vineyard Coombsville
8/21/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
95 points
The nose was a bit reticent at this stage, but with some coaxing I found black cherry fruit, grilled meats, graphite, and fresh herbs. On the palate, I found the wine more open, and it was explosive with black fruit, licorice, graphite, and minerality. There is a beautiful sweetness to the fruit on the palate and the texture is creamy, but still feels light-weight, not heavy. There is plenty of finesse to the tannins, which are fine in texture. The finish is long, with a striking combination of salty minerality and sweet dark fruit. It's a gorgeous young Cabernet, perfectly balanced to age and yet enjoyable now.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/7/20, 8:52 AM - Thanks! It's totally enjoyable now, to me, but I think the best days are well in the future. I guess there's not much of a track record with Di Costanzo yet, but based on the restrained, savory style I would imagine these will age well for 10-20+ years.

Red
2016 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Acclivi Nebbiolo
9/5/2020 - SARED Likes this wine:
94 points
93-94 today, 95+ in time. Has a very grippy tannin structure that begs 5+ years before cracking one open. Wish I had more.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/5/20, 7:37 PM - Not as elegant as the Monvigliero i gather?

Red
2016 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero Nebbiolo
9/2/2020 - SARED wrote:
This is an awfully pretty wine and a unicorn by another definition: a barolo with Chambolle sympathy. This is not an angry or austere barolo. You cannot even taste the 14.5% alcohol. That big nose of strawberries, fruit and flowers hits you immediately. The palate has a core of ripe strawberry and cherry essence. There is some earthiness. The fruit here is so soft! Softer than the recent renditions of Monvigliero that I can remember. The wine has intense flavor, but is very seamless and is so soft. I am not an expert, but it strikes me Fabio is taking barolo to new frontiers. I cannot imagine any other producer's Monvigliero cloning what Fabio has achieved here for some time.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/3/20, 6:23 PM - It'll be interesting to taste the Vietti Monvigliero in 2018+, to see how much of the Burlotto Monvigliero is specific producer signature vs. the vineyard + whole cluster. The initial barrel sample tasting notes on the '18 Vietti seem encouraging, suggesting it's pretty finessed/some similarities in flavor profile.

Red
2016 Fratelli Brovia Barolo Villero Nebbiolo
8/31/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
96 points
The '16 Villero is gorgeous. The aromatics are captivating, with very pure, sweet red and purplish fruit, exotic spices, and violets, with some tobacco and tar as well. The aromatics are so well integrated, and suggest a very sweet, finessed, almost Burgundian wine, maybe more akin to a Burlotto cru than the average Barolo. On the palate, the wine mostly lives up to that suggestion, as the texture and tannins are very refined, particularly on entry and through the mid palate, with just a bit of tannin sticking out at the finish. Bright, crisp red fruit, lavender, exotic spices, and tobacco flow across the palate with lively acidity and medium body.

It's beautifully perfumed, complex, light on its feet and yet nicely concentrated and full of energy. What a wine! To me, this edges the Ca'Mia in 2016 - I haven't tasted the Rocche/Garblet Sue yet.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    8/31/20, 4:21 PM - Thanks guys. Look forward to trying the Rocche if I can find a bottle, I bought some for the offsite but haven't found one locally since then. FWIW in 2013 I thought the Rocche was the best, followed by Villero and the Ca'Mia. Seems like maybe it's the same in 2016 based on your comment. With the Ca'Mia I'm not sure if it's just harder to judge in its youth than the others.

Red
2016 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne Nebbiolo
8/26/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
96 points
On the nose, I found aromatics that are both dark and lifted, with dark red to black fruit, smoke, fresh floral aromas, espresso, sweet spices, and mint. On the palate, the wine is lush and richly textured, with layers of stunningly sweet, dark red fruit. Transitioning into the finish, black fruit emerges, along with sweet spices and classic tar & floral flavors. The finish is long, dark and spicy, and a touch salty. The tannins are fine in quality and overwhelmed by the mass of concentrated fruit throughout most of the palate, but begin to emerge on the finish. Acidity is high.

The '16 Le Vigne is a beautiful young wine - it's aromatically a bit more closed than some of the '16s I've tried, but on the palate it's really thrilling, as the fruit is concentrated and perfectly sweet, and that pairs perfectly with the spices & minerality, while the sharp acidity brings a sense of energy.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    8/26/20, 4:21 PM - Ha, I've yet to ever go higher than 98 on the highly scientific scale. 96 seems to be my favorite score to give. This was really nice but in '16 I think the Vietti Rocche, Rinaldi Brunate are better, of ones I've tasted yet.

Red
2010 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo Le Brunate Nebbiolo
8/20/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
95 points
The '10 Francesco Rinaldi Brunate is a textbook Barolo from Brunate. On the nose, I found dark red to black cherry fruit, licorice, dark florals and sweet spices, and a hint of balsamic. On the palate, there is a wave of dark fruit, spices, and a touch of balsamic, and the texture is surprisingly elegant, with fine grained tannins. There is perfect balance and energy, with plenty of power and a long finish, present but fine tannins, and a high level of acidity. It's a very impressive wine, showing better than I would have expected in its youth - particularly in the tannins - but also well balanced to age well as it develops more tertiary nuance.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    8/22/20, 10:57 AM - Yeah for sure - this is the only bottle of it I've had, but it showed exactly as I'd hope, very youthful and reflective of the terroir. I haven't had bottle variation with other (recent vintage) F. Rinaldi, and it's a pretty clean operation these days (more clean than G. Rinaldi funny enough). Maybe some damaged bottles out there. I do also think young Barolo can show very differently and maybe this bottle was unusually open....also I think a lot of people don't like young Nebbiolo, I tend to be find more enjoyment than most in young Barolo I think.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    8/22/20, 2:12 PM - Not sure on the '10 vs. '13. I rated them equally. I think they're pretty similar in terms of the dark fruit, licorice, balsamic, spices expression. I think the '13 may be a bit more refined/polished, but would have to taste them side by side.

Red
2015 Cappellano Barolo Piè Rupestris Otin Fiorin (Gabutti) Nebbiolo
The nose opened with aromas on the darker, spicier end of the spectrum, with black raspberry, spices, fresh herbs, tar, and candied orange peel. On the palate, the wine is concentrated and rich with a velvety, demi-glace texture. There is a wave of sweet dark red fruit ending in a finish of dark fruit, licorice, and spices, with firm but smooth tannins. It's an incredible wine, and so different than the 2014 I tasted recently, with much more richness in the texture and a bit of darker profile. I find this to be one of the better 2015s I've tasted, with all the richness in aroma and texture of a warm vintage but great balance.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    8/3/20, 11:34 AM - Hi pods - only reason I didn't is the tradition of not scoring Cappellano wines per the winery's preferences. But I guess it's silly for an individual to not score. Anyway personally I'd put this in the ~95 range. I'd pin it as one of the better 15s I've tasted. Probably up there with the Burlotto Monvigliero and a bit below where I'd pin the Conterno Arione/Francia, which are my top '15s.

Red
2016 Vietti Barolo Rocche di Castiglione Nebbiolo
6/1/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
98 points
The nose is dark in profile but also very fresh and inviting, with primarily black cherry complemented by blue-toned fruit, baking spices, and a hint of licorice lifted up by cool aromas of menthol and a bit of fresh herbs. It is quite a unique but very pleasing combination of aromas for a young Barolo. On the palate, the wine shows significant density and power but also great finesse, with a creamy texture and fine-grained tannin, showing greater elegance and appearing more cohesive from start to finish in the early going than the rest of the 2016 Vietti lineup. The palate is a bit shut down in comparison to the nose in this showing, but reveals a kaleidoscope of fruit tones from blue to black as I found on the nose and also purple tones. Baking spices and floral notes round out the flavor profile along with a salty minerality that invites another taste.

The Rocche is my favorite of the Vietti lineup this year and is one of the more compelling young wines I've ever tasted. The nose is unique and has this X-factor, a level of exoticism that for me lifts it into the stratosphere. On the palate, it is perfectly in balance and powerful yet finessed, and it appears to have no defined beginning or end, as it glides across the tongue seamlessly.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    6/1/20, 5:41 PM - Ha, unfortunately I didn't take a note on it. Only past 1.5 months or so I've gotten disciplined about trying to write a note every time I taste a wine and that one was tasted right before. At a high level I recall it being more red fruited than the darker fruit profile of the Rocche (and the Brunate), a bit more intensity and pure energy on the palate but not quite the creaminess, seamlessness that this Rocche showed. I recall enjoying the wine a lot, but it did not blow me away in quite the way that the Rocche did.

Red
1998 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
5/25/2020 - Pancreatitis wrote:
Sadly my last bottle of this but easily the best bottle of Dunn I’ve ever had and certainly one of the best Cabernets ever tasted, now I see what the fuss is about, echoes of top Bordeaux.
Beautiful popped and poured and essentially unchanged 3 hours later, this is spritely in its youthfulness, cassis, dark and red fruits, harmonious secondary elements of beef stock and hoisin. Incredibly concentrated with youthful freshness. Tannins still relatively prominent. Breathtaking acidity. No signs of fading.
This is easily a 50 year wine, which makes me wonder why my previous bottles weren’t quite so impressive? Does this winery do no assemblage?
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/25/20, 9:59 AM - It's an interesting vintage based on my experience. In all instances of tasting the wine, there has been some level of brett, and the fact there is some brett in the 98 is acknowledged by the winery. A bottle tasted at the winery a few years ago was spectacular albeit with just a bit more of that leathery flavor than I'd prefer. Two bottles opened at home I've noticed the brett a bit more and enough to really subtract from it in my opinion. Per your note seems like you didn't notice it or it didn't bother you much?

    In all instances, it has been an otherwise spectacular wine in my opinion beneath the brett, and remains youthful as you say.

Red
2013 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder
5/23/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
94 points
The nose is beautiful with ripe black cherry, espresso, licorice, and smoke. On the palate, it has masses of rich and concentrated, ripe dark red and black fruit, and the absence of an extra layer on top of that from new oak aging adds a layer of finesse and a sense of transparency and energy. Acidity is medium+ adding a sense of freshness. There is plenty of tannin on the finish. Overall, especially on the palate, the wine is entirely primary and all about the texture and gobs of fruit at this point, having yet to acquire any secondary complexity. Given the combination of concentration level yet finesse and balance to the wine today, however, it seems likely to age very well and this score may prove conservative. I do think the winemaking may have improved, for my taste, even further in 2014 & 2015, which I thought both had a bit more complexity at this stage, but I'm sure this is going to be a great wine at maturity.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/23/20, 6:55 PM - Thanks - yes, while interesting to taste now, it is all primary fruit and a bit closed off at times. Seems to have the right level of concentration and balance to age a long time.

Red
2017 Giuseppe Rinaldi Nebbiolo Langhe Langhe DOC
5/17/2020 - cct wrote:
91 points
Terrific perfume for Langhe Nebbiolo with cherry fruit, roses, red licorice, balsam, and tar in background. Midweighted, supple, and sappy on the palate with lovely purity of fruit. This has depth coupled with a sense of lightness and lift. This is not trying to be a baby Barolo, but rather is a perfumed, graceful Langhe nebbiolo with complexity without weight. It's floral and perfumed on the palate with an ease and sense of effortlessness to it. I don't; sense any heat to it, and that is impressive for a '17 nebbiolo. A harmonious, beautiful wine that has come together nicely since last year. 91.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/18/20, 10:08 AM - Thanks for note! Most of the '17 Nebbiolo or barrel sample I tasted in fall seemed to have a bit of rough, underripe tannin at the back end. Including to me the 2017 Bartolo Langhe Nebbiolo for what it's worth. I'm gathering you didn't get that on this wine though based on your comment about texture, which is impressive.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/18/20, 5:58 PM - Thanks for the reply! I must agree re: the '17 Nebbiolo, although glad to see this wine showed well. FWIW R. Conterno also seemed positive on the '17 vintage last year but I did not taste any of his '17s. The only one to-date that I have tasted and found particularly notable was the Margherita Otto '17 barolo, still in barrel, but seemed like a very pretty wine in the making.

  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/19/20, 8:07 AM - If you haven’t seen it his website (was new to me) is up with a lot of interesting commentary on the vintages and fruit sources by year.

    I agree. The 2015 was pretty, but I thought the newer vintages were quite interesting. The 16 was very nice although a bit embryonic when I visited due to the way it was aged I believe (logistics). The 2017 & 2018 seem to be where he really hit his stride. The 18 especially seemed very promising. Sorry you had to forego tasting them this year.

Red
2015 Domaine Camus-Bruchon & Fils Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Lavières Pinot Noir
5/7/2020 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
91 points
The nose is expressive with sweet black cherries, roasted meat, licorice, and a hint of chocolate. On the palate, the wine is mostly primary with dark red fruit dominating, and is rich in texture, has sharp acidity, and a firm tannic structure. This is quite a nice young wine although to me the palate didn't live up to the nose at this stage of life - the palate is currently a bit simple and lacks a bit of textural elegance.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/8/20, 11:03 AM - Hey - I've had two 15s recently, this and the Hubert Lignier CdLR. I wouldn't say either of these two bottles was super shut down as a young Barolo might be but obviously neither at anywhere near peak either. This '15 Camus-Bruchon was probably the least favorite of the Burgundies I've tried recently, particularly in terms of texture, but for this price range it's a pretty good wine.

    I thought the Michel Noellat '16 was really nice btw. Interesting they seem to be an unknown producer but the wine was very nice.

Red
2008 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera Nebbiolo
4/25/2020 - NostraBacchus Likes this wine:
97 points
Medium garnet/ruby color with a touch of bricking towards the rim. Needs a few minutes to open up in the glass. Super pretty, with brighter notes of sweet raspberries, strawberries, mint, some tobacco leaf, crushed rose petals, also some dark chocolate, leather and some almost saline minerality. With some more air, a whiff of truffle is sneaking in, too. It's medium-full bodied, with excellent mid-palate persistence, pretty high acidity and medium-high tannin that is great quality and silky. Long finish with great complexity. Another bottle of this stunning Barolo and from my perspective one of the best Barolos of the vintage. I have had it several times and every single bottle was stunning.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    4/25/20, 3:52 PM - Thanks for the note, hope all is well! I love 2008 Barolo and the great perfumes of some of the wines - and this Grasso is definitely one of them, Vajra and B. Mascarello being the other most memorable ones I've had. The Casa Mate is also insanely beautiful. Grasso hit it out of the park in '08....

White
2001 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Brand Alsace Grand Cru
1/6/2020 - NostraBacchus Likes this wine:
96 points
Not what I ususally drink in terms of Riesling but this was deeply impessive. Pretty deep golden color, high viscosity. Explosive aromatics of candied lemon, sweet lemon curd, ripe apricot, but also some spices, some exotic fruit, white flowers, chamomile, honey and some steely minerality. It‘s full-bodied, creamy, rich and powerful, but doesn‘t feel heavy, has good medium+ acidity cutting through the richness and a touch of RS adding roundness. Excellent length.
A rich, oily, but super complex and layered Riesling of the highest level and full of character. Perfectly aged and ready to drink now.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    1/7/20, 8:29 AM - Too bad it looks like you got the last bottle at MWC....this was excellent and at that price, hard to beat. Thanks for bringing!

Red
2010 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Nebbiolo
11/4/2019 - NostraBacchus Likes this wine:
98 points
I haven‘t tasted this in about 4 years and was kind of slightly nervous, as I thought „can this wine possibly be as good as I remembered it“? The second my nose is in the glass, all doubts are gone. While this is undeniably still very young, slightly closed and austere, the sheer class, complexity and incredible silkiness are hard to put into words.
Notes of ripe red fruit, strawberries, red cherries, cranberries, crushed candied violets, tar, some anise seeds, black tea, a touch of truffle and plenty more. It‘s medium-full bodied, at the same time deep and structured, but also weightless, it has medium-high tannin that was building up over the course of the evening, but the tannin is of incredible quality, like pure silk. High acidity provides lift and tension. Superb length. An epic wine in the making... this only needs a few more years and will be one of the all-time-classic Barolos from my perspective. (98+)
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    11/6/19, 9:29 AM - Thanks for writing this up and sharing the bottle of course....can't believe how wrong I got this one! My first thought was top-notch Burgundy but with too much tannin, then Nebbiolo but with a bit of richness from slight new oak.....anyway, what a combination of power + elegance.

Red
2013 Giacomo Conterno Barbera d'Alba Vigna Francia
9/10/2019 - Eric Guido wrote:
90 points
The nose was restrained at first, slowly opening to reveal tart black cherry, offset by savory meats, wild herbs, crushed stone minerality, and a hint of dried florals. On the palate, I found lean textures, driven by the wines acidity more than anything else, as notes of tart cherry, cooling mineral tones, and savory spices coated the senses. It finished fresh, with a sweet and sour mix of red fruits, spices and zesty acids lingering.

This was tasted over the course of two nights and didn't improve. I'm hoping it's just in a bad phase.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    9/11/19, 8:09 AM - For what it's worth I found the 2012 Barbera Francia pretty reticent when I tasted it about a year ago, and the acidity and alcohol stood out to me quite a bit. I don't have enough experience witnessing these wines through the full evolution to say if this often happens. On the other hand, visiting at Conterno I've found the very young Barberas to be consistently expressive, and a recent bottle of the 2016 Cerretta was showing very well. The Conterno Barberas are made so seriously that the idea of it shutting down doesn't seem crazy to me?

Red
1967 Dr. Perin Maurizio Barolo Riserva Nebbiolo
5/20/2019 - Robmcl920 Likes this wine:
92 points
This was a very enjoyable bottle of nature Barolo and shows how even humble Nebbiolo, properly stored, can age incredibly well. Green tea, light red fruits, and earth make up the very pretty nose. The wine bursts on the palate with smoky red cherry and a high level of acidity. Smoke, earth, and dried cherry linger on the finish. It could be due to a short period of decanting, and I would like to have them side by side, but I found the 1967 to be a bit lighter and less powerful than the 1961 or 1964, instead more of an elegant wine, but all of the Perin Wines have been very enjoyable and in phenomenal shape.
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    5/22/19, 7:29 AM - Thanks Eric for highlighting this one in the first place. I didn't take notes on the 1961 and 1964 I've had, but I'm planning to buy a few more and will make sure I do so next time.

    I think the '61 lagged behind a bit overall but was the most powerful of the three. There was a bit of warmth and sweetness to the '61 compared to the other two which I liked, but in other ways it seemed a bit funkier. Still a very enjoyable wine.

    At some point I'd like to do '61, '64, '67, and '74 next to each other and compare. I don't know enough about the winemaking here to know if Dr Perin used the same source of grapes in all vintages, which would obscure the comparison, but otherwise given the storage conditions of these bottles were all ideal and identical it seems, it's a rare opportunity to compare these vintages apples to apples.

Red
2013 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera Nebbiolo
11/24/2018 - MC2 Wines wrote:
Here we go atruffling... (aka Piedmont... and Veneto); 11/16/2018-11/30/2018 (Alba, Guarene, Modena, Barolo, La Morra, Lake Garda .....): As this had been our first visit of the trip and because of the way 2014 worked out we hadn't actually tried the official barolos it seemed like a good idea to order this off of the Barolofriends wine list. I'm surprised at how high the community score is. To me this was ok, but nothing really stood out. It's got lots of dark fruits and some decent tannins and maybe a hint of the wood. Has not really integrated and comes across as a bit basic. Maybe with some more time?
  • Robmcl920 commented:

    1/5/19, 1:07 PM - It’s not surprising to me that a bottle of this is closed off, but interestingly I had this wine BTG at Barolo friends around the same time you did and I was blown away. Really gorgeous floral aroma and aromatically expressive. Speaks to the randomness of wine.

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